Former Mets starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey has announced his retirement. Pelfrey is taking a coaching position at Newman University, where his big league expertise will surely prove useful for up-and-coming hurlers looking to prove their stuff.
Pelfrey will most likely be remembered for his time with the Mets. His past five seasons were spent in the AL Central—three seasons with the Twins, followed by one each with the Tigers and White Sox—but the majority of his career was spent in New York. A first-round pick for the Mets in the 2005 draft, Pelfrey debuted the next year and stayed with the team until 2012.
Throughout his Mets tenure, Pelfrey compiled a 4.36 ERA with a 1.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was mediocre, and, in a way, proved emblematic of the Mets of his era. He bore witness to the historic collapses of 2007 and 2008, as well as the descent into mediocrity of the following years.
But he did so with consistency. Pelfrey averaged nearly 30 starts per season from 2007 to 2011, his five full seasons with the team. In that time-frame, he also averaged over 170 innings per season and posted 5.7 bWAR, making him more than deserving of a fourth- or fifth-starter role.
Pelfrey was never a true ace, nor was he anything close, and for a first-round pick, it’s hard not to let the scepter of greats like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Dwight Gooden loom large. But if the past few seasons have taught Mets fans anything, it’s the importance of staying on the field. Pelfrey did that, year after year, for a mediocre team that showed no signs of improvement. It’s a thankless role, but it’s also only thankless if we leave it that way.